Tonga Skills

4.2 Tonga Skills
Tonga Skills infographic

Tonga  Skills  for  Inclusive  Economic  Growth  (Tonga  Skills)  provides  training,  coaching  and  business  development  services  to  enhance  the  economic  outcomes  and  livelihoods  of  Tongans.  This  Australian  Government  initiative  aims  to  support  skills  sector  reform  in  Tonga  with  a  key  focus  on  skills  development  linked  directly  to  inclusive  economic  growth.

Tonga  Skills  commenced  in  November  2016  and  throughout  2017–18  there  was  a  considerable  increase  in  activity  at  different  levels  across  strategic  and  operational  areas  of  the  program.

This  year  more  than  90  skills  development  activities  were  facilitated  by  the  program  in  four  key  productive  sectors:  tourism,  construction  and  trades,  manufacturing  of  handicrafts,  and  agriculture  and  fisheries.

Simultaneously,  Tonga  Skills  worked  collaboratively  with  the  Tonga  National  Qualifications  and  Accreditation  Board  to  accredit  short  and  community  courses  and  register  new  training  providers.  This  has  led  to  an  increase  in  the  number  and  diversity  of  courses  and  providers.

Additionally,  half  of  the  skills  development  activities  occurred  in  the  outer  islands  –  a  first  for  an  Australian-funded  skills  program  in  Tonga  –  providing  consistent  and  high  demand  training  for  the  remote  populations  of  Tonga.

A  key  initiative  of  Tonga  Skills  is  to  integrate  inclusion  into  all  parts  of  the  program  at  both  the  governance  and  skills  development  activity  levels.  Tonga  Skills  has  become  a  permanent  member  of  the  National  Disability  Task  Force  with  the  Ministry  of  Internal  Affairs.  Through  the  program’s  support  people  with  disabilities  from  the  Alonga  Centre  in  Nuku’alofa  now  have  a  dedicated  market  staff  at  Vuna  Wharf  to  sell  their  products  to  cruise  ship  tourists.program has  become  a  permanent  member  of  the  National  Disability  Task  Force  and  provided  market  stalls  to  showcase  products  created  by  people  with disabilities.

Supporting wider development goals in the Pacific

Tonga Skills is actively contributing to wider development goals in the Pacific. It has established strong connections with the Vanuatu Skills Partnership, which has resulted in fruitful exchanges and information-sharing between the two Australian aid investments.

Tonga Skills is strengthening people-to-people links through cooperation with regional non-government organisations such as Care Australia, Live and Learn and the Pacific Disability Forum. The program is a partner with the Australia Pacific Training Coalition and the two programs are working together to improve regional labour mobility opportunities for Tongan community and aged care graduates.

Tonga Skills is addressing the region’s economic and development challenges through initiatives aimed at improving tourism services and products, increasing access to markets for handicraft producers and enhancing the income-generating potential for people working in fisheries and agriculture.

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